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Better Health Care

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Published on Apr 2, 2011

The Green Party fully supports the Canada Health Act and our universally accessible public health care system -- a system that is the envy of many other countries. There are some big issues and some even say a looming crisis within our healthcare system, especially related to skyrocketing costs. But the solutions are not found in privatizing care and developing a two-tier system where the amount of money a person has determines the timeliness or quality of the care they receive. Our model of health care is the right one for Canada.

What are the key problems? People are concerned about access: the long waitlists for surgery and diagnostic assessments, and the over-crowded emergency rooms. Too many Canadians do not have access to a family doctor and don't feel that the option of a walk-in clinic replaces the more personal care provided by a family physician. We have epidemics of cancers and diabetes and escalating mental health issues, especially amongst youth.

Many of the problems started more than a decade ago.

Federal spending cuts throughout the 1990s resulted in inadequate investments in equipment, long-term care, and education and training for the health care workforce. These cuts also led to increased health care privatization.

Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

We must provide more federal money in areas of high need including training more health care providers and speeding up the certification of credentials of foreign-trained health care professionals. But we cannot just keep spending more. Health care costs are approaching 50% of provincial budgets. We must look at ways to reduce those costs through efficiencies that actually improve care, such as building more long-term community care facilities for seniors and those with chronic care needs. This would free up the far more costly acute care beds in our hospitals where seniors often end up because the kind of care homes they'd like to be in aren't available.

Spending money upfront to keep people healthy and decrease preventable illnesses is smarter, too. We have more cancers because we're putting toxins into air, water, food and buildings. We need to clean up our environment. We need to support preventative alternative therapies that complement our current healthcare system and keep people on a healthy track. We need to expand addiction treatment programs that can help people get off alcohol, drugs, and tobacco and help people transition into healthier life choices.

I oppose any movement, as in Bill C-51, to limit people's access to traditional medicines and natural remedies. I support facilities like Insite that save lives and reduce the spread of disease.

As your Green MP, I will work to improve our health care system by advocating and working for:

More training of health care professionals, including family doctors; speedier processes to certify the foreign credentials of health workers.

More community care facilities for seniors and those with chronic care needs to alleviate pressures on acute care beds in our hospitals.

Preventative measures including alternative therapies that complement our current healthcare system, school-based fitness programs, and federal legislation to end the use of chemicals harmful to human health.

A national PharmaCare program that will reduce the rising costs of drugs by enabling the bulk buying of generic drugs.

Greater public focus on mental health, including de-stigmatizing the topic, and putting special attention on increasing mental health issues amongst youth.

More help and speedier treatment for people with addiction issues.

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